Earl P.L. Apfelbaum, Inc. has specialized in the acquisition and sale of fine philatelic properties since 1910. Founded by Maurice Apfelbaum, the business has grown through the hard work of his son Earl, grandson, Martin and his wife Diane and great-grandchildren John, Ken, Missy and Susanne, so that the entire family is involved.

From its storefront beginnings in Philadelphia to a multimillion dollar business, Earl P. L. Apfelbaum, Inc has built an outstanding reputation as one of the world’s oldest and largest philatelic specialists.

We invite you to call on the advice, experience and expertise that only a lifetime in the business of philately could offer. The Apfelbaum Family stands ready to help you.

When To Know When To Sell
With its generally known title as “The Hobby of Kings”, serious stamp collecting is pursued by those with leisure time and some discretionary income, no matter how large or small. Serious collectors usually have a relatively large amount of these discretionary funds. And they spend a good deal on their collections no matter whether the economy is growing or stagnant.

The market for stamps can be affected, however, when many sellers hold back from liquidating their holdings in hopes of later achieving a higher return. This results in a shortage of fine properties on the market and, in general, higher yields for those who sell. Conversely, sometimes many sellers rush to sell because they hear that prices are strong and the market can be glutted. A seller faces at least two difficulties in such a market - when to make the most profitable transaction and how to find a buyer.

In either case, the only sure way to make the most of your investment or inheritance is to consult a professional philatelic firm. We will answer your questions about outright sales, auctions, private treaty sales and estate planning, as well as shipping your stamps.

We will go through a list of options available to you once you have decided to begin pursuing the sale of your stamps. We hope it answers some of the questions that you may have about outright sales, auctions, private treaty sales and estate planning, as well as about shipping your stamps.

Outright Sale
This is often the quickest and most profitable way to sell a collection. The seller is guaranteed the full amount at which an appraiser has evaluated the holdings and is assured of greater confidentiality than if the collection is advertised to the public.

An appraiser examines and values the collection as a representative of the prospective purchasing firm. If interested, the firm will usually make a cash offer to buy the collection. It is then up to the owner or trustee to accept the offer or to investigate other selling methods.


Public Auction
In many instances, Public Auction may be the most profitable way to liquidate your philatelic holdings. Though there are no firm rules, large specialized collections or properties containing major rarities and exceptional quality material will often realize more for the owner when sold at auction.

A Public Auction is often more satisfying to trustees as at a public sale, the fiduciary responsibility to the trust or estate is assured.

For a Public Auction, the original collection will usually be rearranged into lots for the greatest sales appeal. This lotting procedure is handled by experienced auction describers who have been trained in creating the most attractive lots for bidding. Sometimes a lot will be an individual stamp; other times, whole sets, or even an entire collection. Major stamp dealers publish auction catalogs regularly to generate bids as well as list their auctions online, along with thousands of scanned images, to enable philatelists world wide to partake in each auction.

A number of bidders and professional auction agents will attend the sale but by far the greatest number of bids will be received by telephone and Internet. All of our auctions are broadcast live over the Internet and hundreds of registered bidders, worldwide, are able to view the items and bid live this way. This combination of live online bidding, auction floor bidding and bids received prior to the auction assures competition on every lot.

Private Treaty
Some collections, because of their size, form or restricted range of appeal, are not suitable for competitive bidding. These can frequently be sold intact by private negotiations. Prominent stamp firms, with worldwide connections, maintain lists of buyers for such properties. These firms will usually act as brokers in the transaction charging a commission for bringing the buyer and seller together. If no sale can be arranged within an agreed upon time, the philatelic property is returned to the owner at no obligation or may be bought by the firm itself. Otherwise, some other method of sales may be pursued.

Estate Planning
Many collectors never think of selling their collections. They are collectors for life. Unfortunately, they never make plans for the sale of their beloved stamps after their death, or when they can no longer handle their own affairs. The responsibility of disposing of the collection then falls on the shoulders of a family member and he or she usually has no idea how to go about doing it.

The best scenario is that you, the collector, provide some guidelines or suggestions to those who will be responsible for selling the collection for you. May we suggest that you include a booklet we have prepared along with your instructions. Just call our office (800-523-4648) and ask for the Stamp Seller’s Guide. We are quite sure it will be a big help.

Shipping Stamps
Preparation - Once you have decided on a stamp firm and contacted them to handle your transaction, gather the items you intend to sell to determine the number, size and shape of the shipping containers you will need.

Estimate the value of the stamps for insurance purposes, if possible. This should represent full value. If you are uncertain about the value, call us for advice. Apfelbaum carries private insurance for incoming collections. Call us at 800-523-4648 to arrange shipping details.

Leave the stamps in the albums or whatever containers they are in; whatever savings might be made in space will be offset by potential damage or by breaking up the order of the collection. Prepare a packing slip with a list of the items enclosed. Also include your name and address.

Packing - The ideal container is a sturdy corrugated 1.5 cubic foot carton that can hold several stamp albums yet is small enough to be easily managed. These cartons may be purchased from moving companies or those who specialize in packing materials for mailing.

Stamps in stock books should be packed tightly and upright so they will not be jarred loose in shipment The carton should be marked ‘THIS SIDE UP”.

Cartons should be packed firmly, but not to the point of bursting. Any empty space must be filled, ideally with crumpled newspaper. Seal the cartons with packing tape and attach shipping labels that have been neatly addressed.

Please allow enough time for a thorough evaluation. After your shipment has been insured, sent and reached us, we will acknowledge its arrival with a letter mailed to you on the same day of receipt.

Apfelbaum usually has a backlog of appraisals. A fair and accurate assessment cannot be rushed. Some collections may take only hours to evaluate, larger or more specialized holdings may take several days.

Are you ready to speak to one of our representatives
about the sale of your collection?

Call today to consult with us about the sale of your collection
or email Ken Apfelbaum at
(800) 523-4648

© Copyright 2010
Earl P.L. Apfelbaum, Inc. - The Pavilion - 261 Old York Road - Suite 831
Jenkintown, Pennsylvania 19046 - (267) 763-0216 - (800) 523-4648